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Facebook Stops Data Sharing With Apps, Tesla Continues To Post Losses, And More: News From The Tech And Startup World [July 30-August 5]

Facebook Stops Data Sharing With Apps, Tesla Continues To Post Losses, And More: News From The Tech And Startup World [July 30-August 5]

A Curated Rundown Of News And Happenings From Around The Tech And Startup World

We’ve kept you updated on the happenings in the Indian startup ecosystem. With the week coming to a close, it’s time to catch up on the important updates in the tech and startup ecosystem around the world.

As the first half of the financial year 2018 inches closer to end, Elon Musk’s electric vehicle-maker Tesla reported quarterly loss of $717.5 Mn, compared to $336.4 Mn in the same period in the previous year.

This comes as the seventh consecutive quarterly loss for the company. In fact, Tesla has had just two profitable quarters, the last of which was reported in 2016.

Tesla’s negative free cash flow of about $740 Mn was lower than expected and the company ended the second quarter with $2.2 Bn of cash.

Meanwhile, global giants like Amazon and Facebook continue to lead innovation and research with new products in their pipelines.

Global ecommerce company Amazon has applied for a patent for an audio system that detects the accent of a speaker and changes it to the accent of the listener.  The application describes “techniques for accent translation.”

Social media company Facebook is working on something called Talent Show, which will enable users to compete with each other by singing popular songs and then submitting their auditions for review. Talent Show will have an interface that allows users to pick a song from a list of popular tunes and record themselves singing the track in question.

In Inc42’s weekly rundown of international stories to educate and entertain you and keep you informed about the startup landscape across the globe, we bring you the important developments from the week gone by. Here are some more:

Facebook Stops API Access To Apps, Loses Its CSO

The chief security officer (CSO) of Facebook Alex Stamos announced that he is leaving the company to take a position at Stanford University. Stamos worked with the company for three years.

Since the Cambridge Analytica debacle, Facebook has been losing members of its key leadership, largely owing to its lack of response to the ongoing troubles relating to user data security and election interference on the social network.

Probably with a view to getting at least part of its data security act right, Facebook also announced that it is stopping access to its APIs — which enable app makers access FB user data — for hundreds of thousands of inactive apps on the platform.

With this move, Facebook wants to ensure that third-party software on its platform is in line with its data privacy rules and also comply with the new restrictions announced in F8 Conference.

Facebook said that developers will not lose API access while their app is in the queue for review, or while Facebook is in the process of reviewing the app, as long as the software complies with its revised policies.

Facebook has also dropped plans to launch a standaloneDating app; it will provide the feature on Facebook’s main app, alongside many other features buried within the home screen.

Facebook is considering imposing a limit on how many people users can express interest in, which would prevent spammy behaviour of rapidly approaching everyone you see.

Starbucks May Soon Accept Bitcoin, Partners With Alibaba

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is developing a Bitcoin trading platform, has created Bakkt, a new company that will facilitate trading and conversion of the best-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, to fiat money or government-backed legal tender.

Starbucks has come onboard Bakkt as “the flagship retailer” of the project, hinting that the company may start accepting Bitcoins converted through the Bakkt system. The coffee giant previously played a major role in helping bring mobile payments mainstream in the US.

“As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks,” said Starbucks Payments vice president Maria Smith said in the statement. “As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers,” she added.

Bakkt has enlisted some other big names including the likes of Microsoft and BCG. Microsoft will provide cloud infrastructure for the service.

Starbucks has also partnered with Alibaba to offer wide-ranging services which will cover delivery, a virtual store, and collaboration on Alibaba’s “new retail” Hema stores. The service will start in September in Beijing and Shanghai, with plans to expand to 30 cities and over 2,000 stores by the end of this year.

Walmart Pilots Grocery Picking Robot

Global retail company Walmart has partnered with Alert Innovation to deploy Alphabot, a system designed for Walmart, in its Salem, New Hampshire superstore for a robotics system that picks up customers’ grocery orders.

The automated technology will be installed in a 20,000-square foot extension connected to the store, which will also serve as the dedicated grocery pick-up point with drive-through lanes for customers.

Alphabot automatically brings items from storage to Walmart’s store staff, who then assemble customers’ orders. Walmart is basically testing how much a robotics system such as this can speed up the fulfilment of customers’ online grocery orders.

Stay tuned for next edition of Around The Tech And Startup World!